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2013 Dodge Dart: More Teaser Photos, Now The Instrument Panel

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One week ago, we got the first teaser photos of the 2013 Dodge Dart, the all-new compact sedan that will replace the unloved and obsolete Dodge Caliber hatchback.

Now, we've got more. Chrysler has released two more photos, in this case of the instrument cluster and touchscreen center stack in the console.

Dodge says the 2013 Dart's interior will "set new standards for compact cars," with "materials and precision craftsmanship" that heretofore have only been used in pricier cars. And taking a leaf from the Mini and Scion playbooks, the Dart will offer many ways for buyers to personalize their car--all, no doubt, for a slight additional fee.

The features shown in the photos are listed as "available," which means they may be extra-cost options on higher trim levels.

Thin-film transistor gauges

The customizable 7-inch gauge cluster can be customized to show different information, depending on what the driver wants to see. And the central touchscreen measures 8.4 inches--the largest in the compact class--offering access to Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system.

Other options will include a heated steering wheel, and what Dodge calls an "illuminated floating island bezel"--apparently the housing for that available 7-inch Thin Film Transistor customizable cluster of gauges--which can be surrounded with available "racetrack lighting" courtesy of a light pipe.

Lighting and storage

We welcome the descriptions of the cockpit storage options. Console map pockets store mobile phones, toll tickets, receipts, or even (gasp) "pen and paper." Auxiliary jacks and power ports are located on the console, and the glovebox is large enough to handle an iPad.

Sounds like there's lots of lighting, too. Dodge promises ambient lighting for the foot wells, glovebox, storage bins, map pockets, cupholders, and interior door pulls.

The intererior sounds like an interesting place, with "hand-sculpted shapes" and "exciting bursts of color," lit with "ambient interior lighting" and "loaded with cool amenities" and "unexpected delights." Golly, gosh.

2013 Dodge Dart Compact Sedan

2013 Dodge Dart Compact Sedan

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Compact car, mid-size space

Dodge claims the 2013 Dart sits in the "footprint of a compact car" but offers the "interior spaciousness of a mid-sized sedan," with best-in-class room both at the hips and shoulders--meaning it's wide.

Still, that'll be a coup indeed if the car is actually 6 to 10 inches shorter than competing compact sedans.

Dodge also released some information on the compact Dart's safety: It will have 10 airbags, which it calls "unsurpassed in the compact car segment"--meaning no other compact has more, although at least one (the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze) has the same number.

It will also offer both Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross-Path Detection as optional extras.

Three engines

Last week, Dodge announced that the 2013 Dart will offer three four-cylinder engines: a turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir, a 2.0-liter, and a 2.4-liter MultiAir. The smallest is adapted from the 2012 Fiat 500, with the larger two (now known as "Tigershark") being updates of existing Caliber engines.

At least one engine will almost surely be EPA-rated at 40 mpg highway (or better), to give Fiat its last 5 percent ownership share in Chrysler.

The 2013 Dodge Dart will be officially revealed at the Detroit Auto Show on January 9.

And we have a sneaking suspicion there will be more teaser photos before that.

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  1. Can Chrysler stop trying to baffle the public with the BS and build a car with substamce. 9 speed tranny? They can't build a six speed without issues. All of these gimmick additions will cost them in quality as always. Great designs but they just can't connect the dots to quality.
     
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